I have been a personal trainer for the last 7 years. The last 2 years I have had the honor of coaching for bikini and figure competitions as well as being coached and mentored by one of the top coaches in Wisconsin, Lisa Feran. During this time, I have learned a few things. I have seen athletes come and go, rise to the top, struggle and prevail, shed tears and share celebrations. I would like to share some of my takeaways on what I see as key contributions and necessary involvement for success on the athlete side of the sport. Below are 5 things an athlete can do to be sure they are successful with their coach.
Bodybuilding competition coaching is a two way street. On the coaches side, it takes knowledge, receptiveness, patience and a big heart. On the athletes side it takes a willingness to be guided, taught, and to be 'coachable’ if you will.
On both sides; it requires respect and communication.
5 Ways to uphold your end of the bargain as an athlete:
1- Check in with your coach
This is part of your ability to be coachable. A good coach (especially in the bodybuilding industry) is busy. Part of their ability to coach you, involves you checking in! Coaches are not mind readers, they don't know how you are doing unless you tell them. Your success in this sport means upholding your end by communicating your needs. Help them help you.
2- Follow your plan.
Sounds simple enough but this is so important. Your coach will know how to change your plan and keep you progressing based on how the plan is having an effect on you now. If you aren't following the plan there is no baseline to move forward from. If you are having trouble or confused about what you should be doing refer to number one above.
Also, once you decide on a coach and have a program, stick with it! The worst thing to do is to ask everyone for their opinions. Don’t google everything. It is ok to ask questions (as you should!) but you will drive yourself crazy and get confused if you ask multiple people for direction. Choose a path and see it through to the end.
3- Be willing to accept constructive criticism and trust your coach.
Your coach has your best interest in mind (at least a good one should). Don't take assessments of performance personally and recognize that your coach isn't giving you feedback to be mean or attack you personally. Rather, they want to see you reach your goals and be successful which sometimes means you need some tough love. Take it, learn from it, and keep moving forward with your head lifted high. Your coach is on YOUR team!
4- Give yourself time to learn.
Like anything that is new, it takes time to learn. Be patient with yourself. Keep a journal of your thoughts and experiences so you can look back and take lessons from them. Don’t be hard on yourself. Don’t strive for perfection. Strive to be better than you were yesterday. Seriously, give yourself a break. This sport is extremely tough and can get ugly, so have a light heart, forgive yourself for bad days and be open to learning and growing!
5- Did I already say check in? 😉